Odd news: Cat is honorary mayor of Alaska town
This week's odd news column features a skyscraper that can melt cars, a cat mayor in Alaska, a 15,000 pound fruit salad, candy fed bees that produce red honey and 16 skulls on a Czechoslovakia street. The viral video features the scariest job interview ever.
London skyscraper accused of melting Jaguar
LONDON — Motorists may want to think twice about parking in front of the half-built London skyscraper known as the Walkie-Talkie.
That's because the glare off the skin of the new building is so intense that at least one Jaguar owner says it caused part of his vehicle to melt.
And that's not all: Locals say the building's heat also burned a hole in the welcome mat of a barber shop across the street.
"We were working and just saw the smoke coming out of the carpet," said shop owner Ali Akay. "This is a health and safety issue. They should have looked into this before they built it."
Similar problems have plagued other modern buildings, including in Los Angeles, when neighbors of the Frank Gehry-designed Walt Disney Concert Hall reported heat buildups that required corrective measures.
In a joint statement, developers Land Securities and Canary Wharf said they are taking the complaints seriously and looking into how the building reflects sunlight. The 37-story tower — one of the most distinctively shaped skyscrapers in London's financial district — is expected to be completed in 2014.
The apparent problem came to public attention when businessman Martin Lindsay told reporters that his Jaguar's mirror, panels and hood ornament had all melted from the concentrated sunlight reflected from the building.
"It was parked for a couple hours in the city ... and it's completely warped," he said. "It's absolutely ruined."
The problem lasts about two hours a day and is expected to continue for another two to three weeks, developers said in a statement.
"The phenomenon is caused by the current elevation of the sun in the sky," they explained.
In the meantime, the companies said they will erect a temporary scaffold screen at street level to minimize the problem. They said they have also asked city authorities to suspend parking in three spaces.
Dog injures Stubbs, honorary mayor in Alaska
ANCHORAGE, Alaska — For the honorary mayor of Talkeetna, Alaska, a weekend dogfight was less political, more literal.
Mayor Stubbs the cat is recovering at a veterinarian's office in Wasilla after being injured by a dog Saturday night in the quirky tourist town near Denali National Park.
Owner Lauri Stec tells KTUU that Stubbs suffered a fractured sternum and a punctured lung, and already has undergone three hours of surgery.
Stec is planning to file a police report. She says the would-be assassin "needs to go away."
Residents didn't like the mayoral candidates years ago, so they encouraged enough people to elect Stubbs as a write-in candidate.
Although his position is honorary, Stubbs' popularity is real, earning national stories and subsequent visits from tourists. He normally spends his days at a main street general store.
UMass students feast on 15,000-pound fruit salad
AMHERST, Mass. — In what's become an annual tradition, the University of Massachusetts celebrated the start of the new academic year with a delicious, healthy, record-breaking dish.
About 500 students and staff at the Amherst campus on Monday sliced, diced, pitted and peeled 150 varieties of fruit to create a salad weighing more than 15,000 pounds. The salad was mixed in a 15-foot diameter swimming pool.
It included 20 varieties of apples weighing more than 3,600 pounds; 19 varieties of melon weighing more than 2,500 pounds; peaches, bananas, oranges and berries as well as more exotic fruits including quince, passion fruit and rambutan.
A Guinness World Records representative certified the record.
UMass in recent years has started the semester with record-breaking seafood stews and stir fries.
Red 'honey' in Utah may come from candy-fed bees
SALT LAKE CITY — What appears to be red honey is showing up in some Utah beehives and state officials say it may be coming from bugs feasting on candy cane byproduct.
Utah Department of Agriculture and Food officials say they've received several complaints about the odd-colored goo in hives in Davis, Salt Lake and Utah counties. They say the bees were apparently fed the byproduct that came from a candy factory.
Officials say they don't have any reason to call the red substance unsafe, but advise beekeepers not to mix it with normal-colored honey and to report it to the state.
Regulators are investigating whether the substance can be considered honey. Beehive State standards define honey as a product that originates from a floral source.
16 skulls found on streets in Prague
PRAGUE — Police in Prague say 15 human skulls have been found in a wooden box found on a street, and another was found in a garbage bin.
Spokeswoman Jana Roesslerova says police found the 15 skulls Thursday morning near a garbage container after they were alerted by a telephone caller. Roesslerova says each skull was numbered.
She says another skull, also bearing a number, was found in a garbage bin Wednesday by a homeless person.
Police say it is not clear whether the two cases are connected. They have asked experts to help in their investigation.
• The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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